He was born in a refugee camp in Thailand. She’s a half Puerto Rican trans woman. He’s gay and never went to college. She’s disabled from a brain injury when she was 10. They’re all techies in Silicon Valley, too. And part of a new photo project that hopes to disrupt what you think of when you think of “techies.”
It’s true: Silicon Valley doesn’t score the highest marks when it comes to diversity. In their latest diversity reports, the biggest tech companies in the world all had very similar workforce demographics. Close to 70 percent of Silicon Valley employees are male and over half are white. That statistic is true at Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, LinkedIn, HP, eBay and Pinterest.
But that’s not to say that women, people of color, LGBT folks and people with disabilities are non-existent in the tech world. Just ask San Francisco-based photographer Helena Price, who has taken stunning portraits of 100 of them. In her Techies photo project, Helena shines the spotlight on underrepresented people working in tech as a way to dispel the stereotype that everyone in Silicon Valley is a young, white guy. A Mark Zuckerberg type. Facebook is listed as one of the sponsors.
“I want to show the outside world a more comprehensive picture of people who work in tech,” Helena told Refinery29. “It’s not just a bunch of 22-year-old white boys from Stanford — there are a ton of people in tech who come from a huge variety of backgrounds, many not privileged, who worked their ass off to be here, have good motivations, and stay because they are insanely talented and passionate about the work.”
Each portrait is accompanied by an interview with the subject, addressing their personal experience in tech and how they have confronted sexism, racism, homophobia or ageism in the workplace. By putting a face and a story to a minority demographic, Helena hopes that Techies will help companies better address the issues that their non-white, non-male employees face everyday and make Silicon Valley a more welcoming place to all forms of diversity.
To view the 100 Techies portraits and read the interviews, click here.